Skip to main content

The best Windows 11 keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to save time, whether you’re working or relaxing. While we’ve already covered some of our favorite Windows 10 shortcuts, there are also a few you should try out in Windows 11. Here’s a look at some of our favorite shortcuts and how you can use them to your advantage.

New Windows 11 keyboard shortcuts

Person using Windows 11 laptop on their lap by the window.

Windows 11 brings a new set of keyboard shortcuts that aren’t available in Windows 10. These shortcuts are catered to some of the new features in the operating system, like the Widgets Pane, Quick Settings, Notification Center, Snap Layouts, and Windows Copilot. Many of these shortcuts will require you to use the Windows Key (⊞), which you can find to the left of the spacebar.

⊞ Win + W Open the Widgets Pane.
⊞ Win + A Open Quick Settings for Wi-Fi, Brightness, etc.
 ⊞ Win + N Open Notification Center.
⊞ Win + Z Open Snap Layouts.
 ⊞ Win + C Open Windows Copilot.

General Windows 11 keyboard shortcuts

HP Pavilion Plus 14 2023 top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

In addition to the keyboard shortcuts above, which are new in Windows 11, some of the Windows 10 shortcuts also carry over into the new operating system. These have also been found in older versions of Windows. You can use these to take screenshots, run searches, get to your settings app, get support, and a lot more.

Keyboard shortcut Function
⊞ Win + Shift + S Take a screenshot with Snipping Tool
⊞ Win + M Minimize Windows
⊞ Win + R Open the Run dialogue box
⊞ Win + L Lock your PC or switch accounts
⊞ Win+ D Display and hide desktop
⊞ Win+ I Open Windows 11 Settings
⊞ Win+ E Open File Explorer.
⊞ Win+ X Open the Start Menu Context button
⊞ Win+ P Open the projection pane for display settings
⊞ Win+ Comma (,) Peek at the Windows 11 desktop until you release the keys
⊞ Win+ Period (.) Open the Windows 11 emoji picker
⊞ Win+ Tab Opens Task View and shows current active apps
⊞ Win + K Opens the Cast menu
⊞ Win + G Open the Xbox Game Bar

Quickly access Windows 11’s volume mixer

Windows 11 Volume Mixer.
screenshot/Anita George / Digital Trends

According to one of our staff writers, Jacob Roach, you can also navigate to the volume mixer in the Windows 11 taskbar quicker with this handy shortcut: Ctrl + Win + V.

As Roach notes, this shortcut can be especially helpful if you need to change audio outputs frequently.

There’s more than one way to take a screenshot

Earlier, we touched on the fact that you can use a keyboard shortcut to take a screenshot on Windows PC (like Win + Shift + S). But you should also know that there are actually a number of other keyboard shortcuts you can use to take screenshots on Windows 11 as well. For example, you can still simply press the Print Screen button on your keyboard to get a screenshot of your whole screen. You can also get a screenshot of only the active window by pressing Alt + Print Screen.

For more shortcuts you can use to to take screenshots on Windows 11, check out our How to take a screenshot on PC guide.

Other shortcuts

Ctrl+C Copy
Ctrl+V Paste
Ctrl + Shift + Esc Open the Task Manager
Alt + F4 Close the active app
Alt + Spacebar Open shortcut menu for an active window

Our list covers some of the more commonly used shortcuts involving the Windows key. Microsoft has a more in-depth list of Windows shortcuts, covering things that go beyond what we’ve mentioned in our list so far. Their list gets into Command Prompt, File Explorer, and more.

We think you can use these shortcuts to your productivity advantage, which is why we suggest you also look into some of the best keyboards to use. Your laptop’s keyboard might be too cramped to punch out these shortcuts easily.

Editors' Recommendations

Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
Microsoft just kicked off a new era of PCs with Copilot+
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announces updates to the company's Copilot artificial intelligence (AI) tool.

Microsoft is introducing an entirely new category of PCs, and they're all centered around Copilot+. Amid bold claims of AI PCs from industry leaders like Intel, AMD, and Nvidia, Microsoft is kicking off the era of the AI PC with a new set of hardware requirements and software features that allow your PC to go beyond an AI chatbot.

The idea behind Copilot+ isn't to have a few AI features. Instead, the dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) on a Copilot+ PC will run several language models in the background of Windows 11 -- all the time. The models will scan you through everything you do on your PC to provide context when you want to prompt Copilot properly. Microsoft calls the feature Recall and says it's like a "sensor for AI."

Read more
If you use a VPN, don’t skip this important Windows 11 update
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3 rear view showing lid and logo.

It's not you; Windows is causing the issues this time. If the VPN on your Windows 11 or Windows 10 computer is having a hard time connecting, it is likely because of Microsoft's April security updates for Windows 11 (KB5036893 for) and Windows 10 (KB5036892), which have been reported to be the cause of the problems.

But there's good news. According to Microsoft, a patch is now available to fix the VPN problems users are experiencing.

Read more
A massive Windows 11 AI feature may launch next week despite privacy concerns
Privacy settings in Windows 11.

Windows 11 continues to build a large toolset of AI features, but the one rumored to soon launch may be the biggest change yet -- especially when it comes to your PC's privacy. Windows Latest reports that in Build 26212, the Windows 11 AI integration is named Recall and can be found on the Privacy & Security page in settings (via Albacore on X).

The concern is due to its privacy toggle. According to the latest build, you can record everything on your screen to help you better find something you were working on or searching for. The positive side is that it can help you find the report you edited when you can't remember where you saved it by accessing the timeline interface. It will also help users with their browsing history. For example, if you searched for how to use WhatsApp Web, but can't remember which browser you used or what site the information was on, AI Explorer (or Recall, as it may be named) can find the information for you.

Read more